Hands up who loves seeing photos of themselves??
Unless you’re a model or really, really, really good looking, you’re probably raising your eyebrows, not your hands.
But but but… If you want to build a career as a six figure freelancer, your face is one of your best assets.
Here’s the thing. People love a smile. And our brains get a little confused when it comes to pictures. We see someone smiling in a photo and it makes them feel less like a stranger. More like a friend.
When you see a great picture of someone, you take the first step towards getting to know them. And what do you do with people you know? You do nice things for them.
This includes BUYING THEIR STUFF.
We all like to do business with friends. In this time when we are all so disconnected and nobody is meeting face to face any more, your photo is like a virtual handshake. It makes an impression and starts forming a bond.
It’s worth noting too that every platform wants a headshot these days. From Google’s business suite to Slack and from WhatsApp to LinkedIn, you’re being given free opportunities to get yourself recognised.
Let’s talk headshots
When I see a photo of me, I’m always a bit disappointed. I don’t actually like sharing them. What I hope will end up being a nice photo just ends up being a picture of …me. It’s so confronting!
For this reason, I always get tense in front of the camera.
But this year, I scheduled my first ever studio shoot. Before the day, I practised at home. I took some selfies, forced myself to look and checked out which expressions and angles didn’t make me look like a squinty-eyed muppet. I also paid for professional hair and makeup. This was a worthwhile investment as it made me feel a bit more relaxed as the photographer snapped away.
But headshots are expensive!
My investment was a total of around $700. Gulp. I think it was worth it but I could only afford it because I had a great year last year. So… here are some shortcuts if you don’t have that kind of budget.
- Get a phone with a great camera or find a friend who has one. Take some shots and adjust the background with a handy tool like this one: https://pfpmaker.com/. It takes away the messy house, the dirty wall or the photobombers behind you for free.
- Find a photographer who is willing to do an exchange of your services in return for theirs. Make sure the dollar value is equal
- Find a friend who is learning photography and ask if you can be a guinea pig
- Get a shot you don’t hate and find a retoucher online who can do some vanity touch-ups
How to pose
If you only have one headshot, it should be you looking directly at the camera and smiling. Play around with a serious snap if you need it for the context of what you do. You might want to pose with something related to your work.
A family snap could be nice too but be aware of sharing photos of your kids far and wide.
Ideally, your headshot will be just that – a shot of your head (and shoulders). This introduces people to a clearer picture of who you are.
The magic of other people’s photographs
Still hate the thought of sharing your photo?
Here’s something to remember: What do you think when you see other people’s headshots? Do you think ‘Oh how could you share that imperfect photography?’ Or do you think ‘Wow, they look like they’ve got it together.’
Mostly, you don’t immediately see flaws. You see a smile. And it creates a connection with that person, even though you have never met them.
So be brave and get some photos. You’ll never regret having them.
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